UK’s First Safe House For Older Domestic Violence Victims Opens
Today sees the UK’s first safe house specifically for victims of domestic and sexual abuse aged over 45 open its doors.
The launch by EVA Women’s Aid, forms part of a unique project to support mature women suffering at the hands of their abusers, who are less likely to report maltreatment than younger victims.
The charity, based on Redcar’s High Street, already operates two safe houses in the Teesside area geared towards young women. The new residence will offer temporary housing for up to four women at a time and the first residents will move in from 1st June.
Richinda Taylor, chief executive of EVA, said: “Women over 45 have different needs to younger victims and we have found that when they are housed together, the older women tend to take on a maternal role. This can be at the cost of their own personal needs and we want to ensure that they’re not overlooked.
“We’ve worked with women aged eighty and over who’ve been subjected to violence and psychological control all of their adult lives and sadly many women believe that there’s no way out for them. This dedicated safe house, with fully-trained staff on hand, will enable us to help them turn their lives around and break the cycle of abuse.”
Ethical bank, Charity Bank, provided a £55,000 loan to secure the purchase of the property; Northern Rock Foundation’s Fresh Ideas Fund gave a grant of £ 49,866 towards the deposit for the house and its refurbishment; and the Lloyd’s Bank Foundation has provided £60,000 towards core running costs and a support worker at the premises.
Alistair Jenkins, Charity Bank’s regional manager responsible for North East England, said: “Charity Bank was set up to support projects like this and to back charities and social enterprises working hard to tackle social problems within communities. EVA’s innovative approach and expertise supporting domestic abuse victims is being shared with other organisations working in the field so that similar schemes aimed at women over 45 can be opened across the UK.”
Charity Bank offers loans to charities and other organisations that have a social purpose using the money that its savers entrust to it. It provides loans that help charitable organisations to buy property, develop social housing or community facilities or to undertake social projects. When an organisation pays back its loan, the money is used by Charity Bank to lend to another organisation working to benefit society.
Paul Streets, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation said, “We are committed to helping those affected by domestic abuse to make the transition to safer circumstances. We wholeheartedly applaud the work of EVA Women’s Aid and are proud to have awarded a £60,000 grant for their new older women’s centre.”
Lloyds Bank Foundation focuses on funding projects that help intervene at critical moments in people’s lives and believes that people have a remarkable capacity to overcome the problems they face if they’re given the right support and opportunities. The Foundation supports a number of small and specialist organisations tackling domestic violence and abuse, including refuges, many of whom have borne the brunt of changes and cuts to funding.